Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Various Thoughts on Internet Dating (Kris)

(When I started this blog, I was very clear that I didn't want it to become a forum for ragging on men. I want it to be positive, yet honest. So this entry is complaining a bit about on-line dating, but hopefully it's more discussing some frustrations. I'm still very open and positive about meeting people online.)

I've been surprised that the LDS Promise website hasn't been as fruitful as the others. At first it seemed much better, but I've had longer, more significant contact from the other sites. In fact, I have my first face-to-face (a.k.a. date) this week.

Which leads me to a point I want to make and, hopefully, not sound like the crazy bonehead who called Bridget last week. I think some people are on line just to feel like they are doing something regarding their dating lives, but really they aren't doing anything, just creating the appearance of doing something. I think there are many cases when "something" is really "nothing"- like my first two times on line. I knew I needed to be putting forth effort, but really wasn't comfortable meeting someone online. It can be the same with going to firesides, dances, whatever- you show up to feel like you're doing something, but once you're there you don't do whatever you need to in order to meet someone or put yourself out there. You (meaning me) go, not willing to do anything except be there, just waiting for a sign from heaven or hoping Mr. Right happens to sit right next to you. Or what about self-help books? You really feel like you're doing something, working on yourself, improving, but if you never get your nose out of the book, leave the house, and put it to use, it's just an excuse to stay home. I realize there are helpful books out there, and I'm not saying they can't help us learn and change. I'm just saying if you really want to change things in your life if may take more than posting a profile online and calling it good. Anyway, I feel like I meet men online and it goes to a point, then they disappear. Casual conversation is good, but it seems a lot of guys don't want much more.

Some guys are also really bad, or maybe just don't care, at the online approach. One guy sent me almost every flirt possible over a two day period. Ya- if I'm not responding to the first 5, I'm not interested! I'm not into the online flirt much. I usually just delete them and respond to messages. Maybe this is being too picky on my part. But if someone is interested, a couple lines shouldn't be too difficult and makes them much more attractive. (This is funny because I'm like this IRL too. I don't know how to deal with it when someone I don't know starts flirting with me; I just get flustered. I totally prefer the direct approach.)

Another surprising thing online is that I've realized, being almost 40, that my dating pool consists largely of middle-aged men. This was shocking. I look at these photos and think, "I'm not that old." I spent a few weekends ago with married friends that I've known since college and tried to imagine what the men would look like if I didn't know them. I couldn't do it. They just didn't look that old to me, even though I know they are. It's been an adjustment but I'm trying to be open to men whose photo look more like my dad than my date. :)

So the guy I'm going out with this week is also surprising. He's definitely at the upper age range of what I'd consider appropriate to date. Some stuff in his profile bugged me too, like he's specifically looking for someone younger. But you know, he started with a good email and made me feel interesting. Yes, I'm a sucker for flattery. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Moving On (Leah)

I had a first-date this weekend with a guy who has really good Phil potential. He's upstanding and can carry on a great conversation. The next day, however, I woke up feeling a bit sad. I think I was missing Phil the first. This guy is very much the first Phil's opposite. (Over the years I find I do that a lot - flip-flop - not intentionally, it just happens.) The things this guy has, Phil lacked, and the things that made Phil the first great, this guy lacks. I really can't say for sure which qualities I value more - maybe that's why I flip-flop so much. I realized, though, that just as you get to know and appreciate a new Phil you must go through the process of more fully letting go of the old Phil. It's not just a matter of falling in love with someone new, it also involves falling out of love with the past. And not just the one that preceded him - memories of many of them come back and float around for reflection and nostalgia's sake and maybe even a little bit of inner debate.

There's an ABBA song that I just love - less well known than the ubiquitous "Dancing Queen" and even "Chiquitita." It's called "Move On" - from a 1978 album. "Like a roller in the ocean, life is motion, move on...." It sometimes echoes in my head - a good mantra.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Every Woman loves a good fairy tale (Bridget)

So, I was online the other day, checking my messages on LDS Planet and I was instant messaged by a normal looking guy in Utah. I chatted back and forth with him for a few minutes, and he suggested we talk on the phone. For a second, i thought it was too soon, but then thought, why not, nothing ventured nothing gained, right? And again,he looked normal, and he was a couple of states away, which adds comfort to the situation for some reason..not sure why. So, he calls me,and for the first 5 minutes, he is going on about how "everyone" online is not serious about really meeting anyone, that he is looking for someone that is ready to settle down, that "everyone" "should" not be so picky and that the priesthood manual said something about any man and woman can make it work if they want to...and then after what felt like a half an hour, and sort of similar to a root canal, the conversation went silent. I was actually unsure if he was still on the line. I'm not sure if it really mattered that i was on the line or not, he was just happy to get his opinions out in the open, one more time. After a strained two or three moments, me, thinking of a way to get off the phone politely, he asked me how dating was in California. I told him that I had dated here in California more than when I lived in Utah, and I think it was due to the fact I have gone to a lot more activities, ie dances where I could actually meet someone...he then asked me, with what I thought was a somewhat accusing air,"So why are you not married yet?" Gosh, i love when people ask me that question...especially in the first conversation...I said, I don't know...he then said that "women today" want the fairy tale...they want someone to be perfect...by this point in the conversation, I am sure he knew that I was not on the same page as him...I said, well truthfully, I am right now trying to finish my bachelor's degree and working on myself,I will be ready for the kind of man that i would really like, he then told me "See, you can't do that,life is what happens when you're making plans, you need to be more flexible" He then asked me "Well, do you want kids?" I said yes, and then he asked if I wanted to be a stay at home mom...I told him no, which is not the complete truth...but he promptly hung up on me...which was very welcome,and really I wondered why I didn't think of doing that sooner. I sat there stunned, and really effected by this really weird, 15 minute combative conversation that I allowed myself to be in for 14 minutes too long. It really did make me think about what I found so offensive about the whole conversation. One was the sweeping statements he was throwing out. The very thought that "everyone" this and "everyone that" squeezes out any possibility of someone not being in that category, and the way that he felt he could make such quick judgements about my life, and how i needed to change it. I really felt as if, in those moments, quick as they were, he was talking to not me, but to "everyone" online or "every woman" that wants that fairy tale. He didn't ever get past that to even know anything about the woman that he was actually on the phone with. I thought about the opportunity I have to make less sweeping statements, and not be so quick to judge people and situations,because a lot is missed and thrown away when I trust and perceive my new situation, only by the experience of my previous experiences. Oh, and I really need to get out to singles activities..this online stuff is really making me tired...

The Need for Speed....(marnie)

So I’ve been absent for awhile…had a little health issue that left me under the weather for several weeks. So my interaction with “potentials” has been really limited. When you have a goal to “get out there,” it leaves you feeling a little down when you can’t make any real efforts. But I’m on the mend, so watch out potentials!! I’m coming!!

Enough of the pep talk to myself…

I went to a Singles Conference this last spring and participated in the very popular “speed dating” activity. Personally, I’m an advocate of speed dating! I think it’s a great way to force a meeting, a conversation, and a very comfortable environment to exchange contact information if it desired on BOTH ends of the conversation. The only draw back is that you must have a good basis of quality individuals participating – or you walk away from the experience more hopeless about ever meeting someone you could ever see yourself having at least a 20 minute conversation with and not wanting to poke your eyes out from the pain of it.

Ok, that’s a little dramatic but that’s my gut feeling….

I’ve done this speed dating thing a couple times now and haven’t had a whole lot of success after 10 interactions each time. But this last time had one potential that I wasn’t absolutely overjoyed with, but I thought he was normal enough to maybe enjoy an evening out together.

At this particular speed dating activity the ratio of women to men was heavier, so I “shared” a guy each time with another really cool, quality girl name Sam (name has been changed to protect the innocent). As we gave all our spiels about ourselves in the 5 minutes we were given to each guy, I really thought she was such a catch! And would be so fun to hang out with! I started racking my brain trying to think of someone I could set her up with! Because of that feeling, there was absolutely no jealousy or even trying to outdo each other to get the guy’s attention during the 5 minutes. It made it more casual and more enjoyable for me.

Anyway back to the only potential…we’ll call him Speed…I got an email from the Speed Dating Administration telling me that Speed was interested in going out with me. So I thought, well, that’s cool! I’ll email back permission to contact me. I got Speed’s email yesterday.

He started out really well by remembering the current book I was reading at the time. He even sent picture drawing of the classic book’s main character, which I thought was pretty thoughtful. Then he included a picture of himself so I could remember exactly what he looked like. I thought that was very kind too. And he’s pretty darn good looking.

After a brief bulleted list of where he lived, what he did for a living and his religious status (active, with calling), he added two references: his bishop and the family he home teachers with their respective phone numbers.
Hmm. References? Thoughtful? Yes. A little weird? Yes.

I have mixed feelings from it. But I really shouldn’t. After some of the online dates I’ve been on – and some of my friends have been on – it really is a good idea! I guess the reason I don’t like it is because of the circumstances. Really? I have to check out a date before I go out? I can’t meet a guy at a party have a good conversation and have him ask me out and go out with me? Instead, I have to check his references? Make sure he isn't a felon or lying about his activity in the church? Yeah, sad. But that’s what you get from speed dating!

But I’m going for it! I haven’t decided whether I’ll call the references not. But I will go out with Speed if he asks.

Stay tuned for more Speed….

Friday, June 20, 2008

agendas (marcia)

I remember an early conversation that Clue and I had about his immersion in to the world of Mormon dating (he’s a fairly recent convert). I distinctly remember both of us agreeing that the problem with single Mormons is that everyone they meet is viewed as a prospective eternal companion and the evaluation as to whether that person is acceptable eternal material or not begins the moment eyes meet. In the secular world, when a single person meets another, eternity is not in the equation…anywhere. The absence of the eternal marriage factor enables them to freely get to know someone without any pressure.

So imagine my surprise when Clue told me that he had every intention of marrying me. Taken out of context, this sounds a bit shocking. Ok, it was shocking even in context, but he didn’t just blurt it out of the blue. I’m getting used to his compliments as he tells me at least once an hour that I’m pretty, so I wasn’t squirming like I usually would when he started telling me all the things he liked about me. Then he said that I was the best girl he’s ever found and that he didn’t plan on letting me go. He said, “this may freak you out, but I intend on marrying you.” Wow. WOW. My first thought was that he must not meet very many girls. My second was that he was still in the red-flag-colorblindness stage where you just don’t see all the things that bug you after awhile. My third thought was “that is one of the nicest things anyone has ever told me in the first trimester of dating.”

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Who Where When How (Leah)

Back in college (BYU) I took the ever popular "Marriage Prep" from Brent Barlow. I remember he used to say that what really mattered was that you married the right person in the right place at the right time. Well last week I was listening to some talk of his from Education Week and I was intrigued that he added the "how" aspect. I guess everyone has to update their material at some point. Anyway, that's not my point, I just had to share that tidbit. My point is that in his talk he spent some time explaining each aspect. I think we're all good about knowing we should marry in the temple and of course we're always looking for the right person, but timing is something we're not often taught. Maybe we're taught the how - but I can't quite remember his thoughts on that and since it's new for me I have nothing to say about it. The timing, though, has been a sticking point for me for years. Obviously. I've been in relationships that have lasted three months and I was ready to marry and other relationships that were a year long and I was ready to marry. I guess getting to know another person just takes some time. Brother Barlow recommended "several months" and his time limit of choice was twelve months total for knowing and being engaged. I appreciated his insistence on not giving a specific time frame. Instead he emphasized that you know them over some time so that you can see them in various settings and see how they process and deal with things that arise. Anyway it got me thinking about all the people I know now. Why is it that we have a hard time considering those we know now to be dating options? I know it happens sometimes - but usually no one dates someone they know - certainly not someone they know well. I have heard of best friends finally getting a clue and marrying but I think that's more the exception. I just hate the idea that I'm just THAT much further away from "meeting someone." Hmm, I tried to share something insightful, but I think I just vented. Either way - there's my post.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Foul Ball(Bridget)

So, I was watching the bachelorette the other night...I know..don't judge me. In light of recent activities in my life, the one thought that kept creeping up was, she has however many men vying for her attention and wanting to be close to her, and I can't even handle one lately..it has literally stressed me out. Dodger guy, who i mentioned as my last internet potential,didn't even make it to actually meeting me. It wasn't guacamole that did him in..i honestly think that it was partly because he was so eager to meet me. It scared me, I think.We had been talking for less than a week, and I made the mistake of giving him the link to the blog (not sure why) I had asked him if he liked Guacamole, and he said, Is this a trap? And I laughed and thought it would be funny for him to read my blog. The problem is, I think from that point I felt as if I had shown him too much about myself and had given him, without much thought, the opportunity to access very raw and private thoughts and feelings. Its one thing to share these thoughts anonymously to blog readers, its quite another to share them with a person that is interested in meeting me to date. I felt too exposed too soon. Then, I started thinking and analyzing..like I do, he lived too far away, I have a very full life right now in Southern Cal, and didn't have the time for a long distance relationship. The end result was ultimately not having even the desire to meet someone.I have learned a lot. I have learned that for me, the need for trust before I open myself up to someone is monumental and one of the keys to my ability to feel comfortable. Hopefully, I will remember this for the next time.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dang It!! (Kris)

I was feeling so good for putting it out there to that guy on line (see previous post). I haven't heard back from him, but I feel good about what I wrote. I am always much more satisfied with a situation when I'm open and honest, regardless of the outcome. I don't know why I don't retain that lesson, even when another opportunity presents itself just a couple of days later.

About a year ago, I visited my home ward from the singles ward. As I was walking home there was this cute guy walking home too. I started talking to him. He was visiting from another singles ward. I felt there was a little connection. In January, I transferred my records to the family ward. A few months ago, we had ward mingle after church, and I noticed a familiar looking guy heading toward me. I just figured he was someone in the ward. I could tell he wanted to talk to me but I was in charge of the mingle and wasn't thinking much about socializing. Right after he walked out, I realized it was the guy I'd met previously. I was bummed and kicked myself for not recognizing him earlier. I didn't see his name on the ward list (I only know his first name and approximately where he lives), so just assumed he was visiting again. Ever since, I've been hoping he'd show up again.

Today, he was finally there. After all that anticipation, I totally chickened out. There was another mingle, and he stuck around and chatted. I wasn't in charge so was just socializing and kept trying to make my way over to where he was, but I could not convince myself go the extra few steps and talk to him. DUH! I felt like I was back in high school- all insecure and embarrassed. That's not typical for me, although also not atypical. It seems my confidence level when it comes to approaching men is hit and miss with no real rhyme and reason to how outgoing I feel.

I left and walked home really slowly hoping he'd walk out and catch up. No such luck. All I can say now is, DANG IT.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Question (Leah)

Here's a question... someone pointed out to me recently that I am very good at loving. I can love easily and fully a variety of men. I guess after hearing my dating history this was the conclusion she drew. Her point to me - what she wanted me to think about - so help me oh internet masses - she advised me to look for a man who can love me as fully. How do you do that? For one thing, every married woman I've ever spoken to indicates that men just aren't that demonstrative. Are there other clues I should watch for? I've always felt/sensed completely and totally loved in past relationships, until it came time for commitment and they had other intentions. I always figured men and women have different styles of expressing love - you know, the old love-languages book - I've read it. It seems to me the only form of measurement is when it comes down to that crucial moment of commitment. And by then I've fallen in love, and well, enough said.

Friday, June 13, 2008

planting seeds (marcia)

at the risk of overposting my welcome, I thought I'd write in response to Leah’s posting on “How to Get a Date”. I don’t claim to have any secrets that I can bottle & sell or any great tips, but I did discover something recently. Those seeds you plant sometimes really do take root. They might just take a long time – a really long time to blossom.

For some reason, I’ve always dated a fair amount. I don’t think I’m cuter or more interesting than any other women. I don’t stand out in a crowd, I’m not very good at flirting, I’m not an extrovert (in fact, I don’t like a lot of attention). I guess what I’m saying is take what I say with a grain of salt – I’m no expert.

Clue and I actually met a few times before he asked me out. We first met over a year ago at a small dinner party – he didn’t ask me out then. He said he saw me again at another party last October – we didn’t even talk. Then last February (over a year after we first met) we met again at a speed-dating dinner – and he asked for my number.

Here’s the interesting stuff that you find out after you’re comfortably dating someone for while:

When we met the first time, both of us were dating other people. Because I was dating someone, I wasn’t focused on talking to the men only – I got to know both the men and the women there. I remember talking to Clue and thinking he was nice, good looking, interesting and very tall. I thought we had a good first conversation. I think it helped that I had just returned from an amazing hiking trip to Patagonia and had something fun to talk about. He says he remembers seeing “that look” in my eyes that told him I was interested.

Last October we were both at a party but I don’t remember seeing him there. He said I was in a different part of the room and at one point I looked over his way and he smiled and waved, but I either totally ignored him or didn’t see him (since I don’t remember this, I’m sticking with not seeing him). Anyway, we didn’t talk. What I do remember about that night is I pretty much sat in the same chair the whole evening and talked to different people as they came to me.

Last February at that speed dating dinner, I was sitting down next to Don (aka Don) and saw Clue out of the corner of my eye. Everyone else was standing and chatting – and there Don and I were…sitting down, talking to each other and being a bit anti-social. I didn’t recognize Clue when I first saw him so I was surprised when he seemed to walk directly towards me, sat down next to me and began talking. He re-introduced himself to me and then I not only remembered him, but I also told him some of the things I remembered him telling me about himself when we met a year ago.

In my non-expert opinion, I think it helped that I showed interest in everyone as well as Clue in the first meeting. He remembered that I had gone on some big hiking trip in some far-off land. And finally, whatever “that look” is, (I don’t remember giving him any "looks" – I think I was just genuinely interested in learning about him), it sent the right message. The second time we met (or rather, he saw me), it didn’t help that I just sat in one place the entire evening. I met a few new people and enjoyed myself, but I certainly didn’t put myself outside of my comfort zone. At the third meeting, I think I was just lucky. Lucky that Clue saw me and remembered me (he said he made a bee-line for me when he saw me – I love that!). And it certainly didn’t hurt that I remembered his story from a year ago.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So Far So Good (Kris)

This internet thing isn't half bad (this time). I've done it twice before, and really not liked it. I think the difference is my attitude. The first time I was on, I was embarrassed about it and nervous about meeting guys. I think I have a bit of an unnatural fear of strangers. I ended up only conversing with guys out of state, probably so I would never actually have to meet anyone. After two months, I deleted my profile. That was about four years ago.

The next time was a little better, but I still was only half committed to it. I emailed a few guys, went out a couple of times with one guy who was very nice, but not the guy for me. I was on about three months, then left. That was about 9 months ago.

This time, I just decided to go for it. No more fear. I really want to meet people and, thanks to Bridget, I'm not ashamed to boldly declare, "I'm online!"

I posted earlier how I wasn't liking some of the traditional sites. It's just so time consuming and I don't like the open profile set up. However, in the past week, I've started emailing at least one guy on each site, none of whom I'm super excited about, but they seem nice enough and we'll see how/if it evolves. Two of the three guys are out of state.

LDS Promise has seemed much more suited to what I'm looking for. I've gone through the whole question/answer process with one guy. He called this week and we chatted for almost an hour. It was refreshing. It seems the last few years I find myself thinking, "I just want to date an adult." When I hung up from this guy, I felt like I just had a conversation with a grown up. He seemed quite normal and was a good conversationalist. This was also refreshing. He really took responsibility for keeping the conversation going, asked appropriate questions, and answered in informative, yet not verbose, responses. Amazing. One other guy and I are about through the question/answer process. His responses haven't been very long, so we'll see what happens with a phone call. Both are local.

The other interesting thing that happened with LDS Promise was one of the first matches that got sent to me was a guy I went out with a couple of years ago. I had a really nice time with him and he emailed the next day to say he had a really good time too. Then... nothing. No second date. A few weeks later, I invited him to come to a group movie night and it felt a little awkward. That seemed to be the end of it. So, when I saw his profile pop up, I was excited. Trying to live in reality, I realize that there was a reason he didn't ask me out again which may not have changed, but I'm hopeful and wanting to explore it a little. I bypassed all the question/answer stuff and just sent him an email. We've emailed back and forth a couple of times now, and he is complimentary and asks questions to keep the email thread going. I'm not sure what to do with it. I'm tempted to just put it all out there and tell him I was bummed he didn't ask me out again. Or I could just send some hints in the email about going out and let it be his idea. I'm leaning toward the first option. Any advice?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

revolving doors (marcia)

In Dickens’ words, this past weekend was the best of times, it was the worst of times. OK, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but the weekend was filled with many contrasts…highs and lows, sad and happy, confusion and clarity.

Shall we start with the best? Clue. I am simply amazed at what the human heart can do when it is turned on (and I mean that in a purely non-sexual way). It’s been a weekend of discovery and growth. In a nutshell, I think I’m really falling for the guy. I’ll get to the juicy details later, but we spent a lot of time together and really enjoyed it.

In contrast, it was a weekend where I had to grow up and say good-bye to my security relationship with BH. Lest anyone misunderstand, let me explain that BH really is a good guy and not the insensitive, inattentive ex. In fact, his alias “BH” stands for the attribute I love best about him…his Big Heart. He really is a good man who has been a good friend for a very long time. But even the best things in life must sometimes come to an end. It was difficult to explain that I couldn’t be friends with someone who has been such a big part of my life for several years. We’ve shared a lot of great experiences including an amazing Christmas trip last December to an orphanage I am involved with – you just don’t forget stuff like that very easily. I also explained some things that happened in the past that were deeply hurtful to me. Not to place any blame or cast any dark shadows on BH, but just as in any on/off relationship, there were some painful experiences that I felt the need to discuss.

Let’s revert back to the crazy weekend. Clue was perfect, BH was ever-present and the back entrance to my house became a revolving door.

It all started on Saturday morning after I got home from my business trip. I dashed to the gym for a quick workout and mentally calculated both the time BH’s plane landed and the time I anticipated he would be knocking on my door. True to form, he showed up and we chatted and then grabbed a bite to eat. It was more of a catch-up conversation. BH had a first date with an on-liner later that night and I didn’t feel a tinge of jealousy. However, I was a bit surprised when I found out who his date was with. I’ve heard of “Mormon Stew” before, but this was ridiculous. He didn’t know it, but BH was going out with a girl that Clue used to date. BH jokingly said we should double – little did he know, little did he know.

So BH drops me off, I run in the house to change clothes and a little later Clue’s knocking on my door. It just did my heart good to see him. We ended up having dinner and catching a movie which was perfect – a little conversation during dinner and a little hand-holding during the movie. I just put everything else out of my mind and silently chanted “I am emotionally available, I am emotionally available”. I’m not exactly sure of the how or why of it all, but it worked. Clue’s been teaching me about meditation and focusing which is sort of what I did that night. I just focused on enjoying being with Clue and silently repeated my mantra. Deepak Chopra would be proud.

BH came over Sunday morning to report on his disappointing date and I tried to suppress my smile which stemmed more from my enjoyable evening with Clue than his disappointing date…honest! He came to church with me but we parted ways after church as I went to meet Clue again. Clue came with me to a family dinner with siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins and I enjoyed having him there with me. Once again, open and available. Once again, not exactly sure how I did it.

BH was still in town on Monday morning so we went to breakfast and had the talk. We talked about why our relationship didn’t work. I shared some things he had unknowingly done that hurt me. He explained and apologized. All in all, it was a very healthy and for me, healing conversation. I also bid farewell to our friendship. I was sad when he dropped me off – really sad. But when Clue came over later, I knew I had done the right thing.

So Clue and I have definitely turned that corner and we’re on our way. Still not sure where we’re headed, but so far it’s about the journey and not the destination.

Monday, June 9, 2008

How to Get a Date (Leah)

I really don't get THAT many dates. Compared to some of my friends, though, I seem to date a lot - you know, more than once a year. I've had a couple long distance boyfriends who aren't insistent on being exclusive, and for some reason, during those periods of life, I get more dates than usual. I've decided there's a confidence/aura about me when I'm in a relationship that somehow attracts men - I've long wanted to bottle it and be able to use it at a later date or sell it to friends. Basically what I'm saying, I've tried to figure out how a girl gets more dates than other girls and even than herself at different times. I have no pat answer. I HAVE however, recently made note of certain behaviors of my friends and have decided that some things they do prevent them from creating connections with men on a sufficient level to have the "normal" guys ask them out. I think there are some guys who will ask out any woman at any moment - they lack the social graces to know when they'll get rejected and when they won't, so they just constantly throw themselves at any woman knowing/hoping one will take them up on the offer.

Sorry - back to my little lesson. So... the sort of men you want to ask you out generally try to use social clues and hints to know if it is safe to ask a woman on a date. They won't ask if they suspect they'll be rejected - nobody likes to purposely put themselves in the line of rejection. So I've decided that men need just enough time getting to know you to feel safe about reading your vibes that you're at least partially interested and would say yes if they asked you out.

In one night I observed three behaviors that do not encourage men to ask you out. One woman chose to sit by another woman instead of by a potential Phil. She had to climb over both the Phil and the woman to get to the woman's other side. Even if she wasn't interested in Phil - she could have sat between them and practiced her Phil bonding skills. Later one woman opted to go home early instead of joining a group at the home of a friend for treats. Granted, we all get a bit tired and cranky and need alone time - but there were no Phils at her house. The party may not have only had any Phils, but there were better chances there than at home - and as said before, you can always practice your Phil bonding skills. Then later, at the party, I observed some women keeping to themselves, talking to non-Bobs (guys with even less than Bob potential), engrossed in conversations with females, and many going home early, before the party settled in to allow for good solid conversation that could lead to more Phil bonding practice or real Phil bonding. I don't thing a guy will ask you out after five minutes of casual conversation. You have to spend time showing a degree of interest (really being interested helps) and even doing a bit of self disclosure so that the potential Phil feels safe. All I know is that I felt pretty rotten that evening myself and often wanted to be one of those women, but I stuck it out and did my best to make eye contact and smile at all the men that entered or passed me by. I spent a decent amount of time talking to one guy and by the end of the night I had a date for the next weekend.

I know this technique has no guarantees - it doesn't always work for me, but if I'd followed those other women I guarantee you that I would NOT have gotten a date.

Just more food for thought. More ideas for me to put into action. Maybe there are certain techniques/skills that I can work on and develop. If you have made any discoveries or know of any certain strategies that are more effective than others, then please share. I'm just happy that without a long distance boyfriend I'm still finding success at getting a date. This one really might be the next Phil!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Secret's Out-Bridget

So, I volunteer as a mentor for an eleven year old girl.I took her out to dinner last night for her birthday. It was her and I and we were across from a table with a family with, i swear like 8 kids which, while somewhat commonplace for Utah, is a bit out of the ordinary for California. As we were looking at these children as they were continuously changing seats with each other,my mentee tells me "I hope you get to have kids, i think you would be a really good mom.You'd be one of those fun moms" Then she says "well, I'm just saying I hope you do, cuz you are getting a little old to be a mom" Nothing like a kid that has yet to learn about not saying everything you want to say. She had just had that assembly at school for the 5th and 6th grade girls, about puberty and stuff, and I don't know, maybe they told her when you hit 35 you start the countdown to barren years. In all its innocence,this statement really touched me to the core. I felt very vulnerable and raw. I sat there and looked at her, instantly feeling the fear and sadness from the thought about not having kids. It really sunk in,I may not have kids. This feeling is the one that I try to cover up and suppress, the one that I satiate with the idea that if its meant to be it will happen, if its the Lords will, I will procreate...and that I'm very happy and there's many ways to be a mother..and Sherri Dew has always been single and she's very successful and has an amazing life...and these days 60 year old women can have babies, and all of the other things i tell myself to counteract that fear of not meeting the man that I am supposed to and and maybe not receiving the blessing of being a Mom. I remember being a teen ager and seeing older single women in the church, and by older meaning over 25, and just being mortified that i would end up like them...Although I was very immature and naive back then, and didn't know anything really about the life ahead of me, I can't help but wonder if that very fear was some sort of premonition or the beginning feeling of a self fulfilling prophecy. Am I single today because of something I am doing or something I made to happen because of my thoughts. The Secret, which is apparently no longer a secret, because everyone and their grandma has seen the weird DVD about the Law of Attraction, states that if you focus on the lack of something, you attract more of the lack...Have I been focusing so much on the fact that I'm not married and not having kids, that I've brought this on myself. Another wise man,once said, okay he wasn't wise, he was the gigolo character in that movie with Debra Messing, The Wedding Date, "Every woman has the love life that she wants". I wonder if this is true, surely I don't want to be alone. But in examining my actions in the past, maybe i do. Maybe the fear of real intimacy, physical and emotional together is too great for me. I've had physical intimacy, and emotional intimacy, but not necessarily at the same time and perhaps,when I really think of it, not with the same man. This fear may very well be inspiration for actions which are really not conducive to meeting a man that will love me. I don't want to die like Eponine, alone and drunk, OK she wasn't drunk, but she was alone.
Although I feared being a single woman so much as a younger girl, now that I am here, I am thankful for the blessings that the single life has afforded me. I know that my life is full of experiences that are tailor made for me and could have perhaps only been present because I am single. I know that being single has stretched me and taught me and shaped me in ways that I wouldn't trade. Now, I look at other single women and marvel at the beauty and grace of them, and the sheer ridiciosity(is that a word,no i don't think so) that they are single. In seeing other women in my social circle, over 30 and single I am assured by what i see, that although throughout all the years I have searched for that reason why I am single, it is not because i am less than,uglier than,because I can't play the piano,because of the scars on my skin, because I am not one of those skinny girls that looks great in spaghetti strap sundresses,because I get Book of Mormon prophets mixed up (there's a lot of A names,dang,need flash cards or something),or whatever my mind decides to lie to me about. Although the women I know are not perfect..and some have more than their share of neuroticism (present company included),they are are gorgeous and smart and successful..and I know they will find their man, and he will be just as wonderful as them...and they're going to have babies, if they want, even if they need to adopt, cuz how cool is that. And I will too. Thats what i'm choosing to focus on, because for all we know, those weird people in that DVD are right....

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Internet Update (Kris)

It's been about a week since I decided to try the internet. I signed up for two pretty popular sites. I wasn't so impressed. It seemed I was getting the most attention from guys at least 15 years older than me, sometimes much more. It was creepy. I've dated a wide range of ages, and don't think age is always important, but to have 55+ men be the primary contact was turning me off the internet dating scene. Luckily, Bridget filled me in on how to only show my profile to the age range I choose. But still, I wasn't feeling too excited about anyone I was finding or the process. I'm not giving up on those sites, I signed up for 3 months and will give it a good effort. I did decide that maybe I needed to try a different type of site. I signed up for LDS Promise, thinking it may have people who are a little more serious about relationships and less into playing. I signed up yesterday, so far, I've liked it. I like the matching process instead of mass profile surfing, and felt like I've been matched with some decent guys. Well see how it goes.

dangerously stupid (by marcia)

I had a Bishop once who explained in his annual morality talk that there are actions that are either definitely black or definitely white. Then there is this big grey area in the middle. He called this the dangerously stupid zone. Over the years I’ve extended this analogy to other areas of life and I realize that I’ve spent a fair amount of time wandering aimlessly in the dangerously stupid zone.

It’s been a few days since Clue and I had our last relationship talk when he asked whether I was emotionally available. I am out of town this week so I’ve had time to process his question. We’ve talked on the phone a few times and have had some great conversations about life, politics and the world we live in. We haven’t talked about my emotional availability, but I know it’s on both of our minds.

Maybe I’m being defensive, but I honestly don’t feel that I am generally emotionally unavailable – I just ended a fairly serious relationship a week before I met Clue, so I think it would be more of a concern if I was ready to jump back into another relationship so soon. I also haven’t been able to determine whether this relationship with Clue hasn’t progressed because I’m not ready or because the “it” factor just isn’t there. There were a few times early on when I considered canceling a date with Clue because I just wasn’t feeling the love, but for some reason (most likely that Cowardice and Avoidance thing), I always kept our dates. So after three months, I feel like we’re progressing…albeit slowly. I will say that I have really missed Clue this week and am anxious to get home on Saturday to see him. And when I do, I am going to be open to Clue and our relationship. I am going to tear down, ignore or crash through those walls. I am going to be open, available and loving. It things don’t click, they don’t click. But I am going to be so ready in case they do.

I do have one complication though…BH is coming to town. I finally told Clue that he was coming and he just asked, “is he coming to see you?” I loved hearing the relief in his voice when I replied no. I did warn him that BH tends to show up at my house a lot when he’s in town. Our lives were pretty intertwined – his car is still at my house and he has stuff in my garage and we need to take care of those kinds of things. I’m also planning on talking to BH when he gets here – we left some things unsaid and I feel the need to just do a bit of tidying up. I was honest and said that I still care about BH and probably always will, but I was totally over him.

I promised Clue there was nothing to worry about, but I could almost hear my Bishop whispering, “you’re entering the dangerously stupid zone…”

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Well Intended Insults (Kris)

I work in small office. I really like the two partners of the firm, but sometimes they like to take on a "fatherly" role. I had my annual "why aren't you married" talk from my boss today. I'm not an easily offended person. I realize this is coming from a place of concern and kindness. He told me he and his partner discussed me over lunch- no, not my job performance, my personal life. I know he was trying to be complimentary. I think what he was trying to say was, "We think you're great and we don't understand why some guy hasn't seen that." What he actually said was, "We can't figure out why you're single, we think you're just being too picky." UGH.

I have a good relationship with my boss and flat out told him that was offensive. I acknowledged that he was trying to be kind, but told him that suggesting I'm too picky when he has no clue about my personal life was out of line. (ok, I wasn't quite that direct) I've decided, if anything, I'm not picky enough- that's another blog.

I think it's interesting how married people (particularly my parent's generation) have no idea how to deal with us "older" single people. It's like this elephant in the room and nobody knows how to talk about it. I recently saw the movie Baby Mama and the main character's mother called her being single an "alternative lifestyle". I liked that. I think the awkwardness comes from people approaching us singles like my boss did- trying to tell me what is wrong with me. So, of course, I react to that and then neither of us want to talk about it again. I don't know why it can't be discussed just as genuine interest in who I am, without the judgment.

I don't think I should be pitied or tiptoed around because I'm almost 40 and single. I have a really interesting life and some pretty hilarious dating stories. I love when people are interested and ask questions, not try to be my therapist.

There's my little rant.

Camping with Consequences (Marnie)

This weekend I went camping with some friends. It's the first time I've been camping since I went backpacking with Rebound. I had never been backpacking before and Rebound basically taught me all the ropes: he checked over my gear, spent hours talking to me about how to use the wilderness as my toilet and other tricks of the trade. In the end the backpacking trip was a great experience! But it was a week later that we had "the talk"...

He's the first guy I've tried to be friends with after trying the dating thing. He took to the change very well! Probably because he had made that decision a month earlier in his subconscious mind while he started pulling away (but left me in the dark). But I'm ok with that now.

Being friends has been mostly good and very revealing as to why it's a good idea we don't focus on just each other. The more we talk, the more I agree we aren't for each other. That left me feeling really good about moving on. Don't get me wrong, I was very disappointed and very sad to lose the potential of a relationship with him (who doesn't when you are single and 37??), but in the end, it's been a good decision.

However, this trip down to the same general area, with my new sleeping bag that he helped me pick out, and all the new camping skills he had taught me left me constantly thinking and talking about him all weekend long. And that bugged me! When I talked about him, I sounded like I still had a crush on him like when we first started dating! Do I? If I weren't me, I would have thought so! And that brought me down much more than I thought - and it was almost like I was going through the loss of him again. I had to get past that relationship AGAIN. It was so annoying! I say annoying because I really thought I was well on my way to moving on to bigger and better things! And proving to myself and the world I was ready for the "right" someone to come along.

I'm sure the weekend was therapeutic for me because apparently I had some left-over processing that needed to be done to really move into the "friend" relationship. I guess I can't just tell myself when I'm done mourning over a lost relationship or make myself feel complete again after losing something that really made me happy for a time. That sucks.

It requires time. Time and conscious effort. And unfortunately, I guess I needed both.

NOW I hope I'm done!

Talking (Leah)

I just wanted to share a little lesson I learned recently. The last fellow I dated complained that I "talked" too much - as in I told too many people too much about me/him/us. I think it made him feel overexposed and insecure. I selfishly thought he was silly. I was talking to my friends about what mattered to me - it had nothing to do with him really.

Since then, though, I've done some thinking. In an effort to honor his wishes I've tried to not discuss him anymore with friends or family. ALSO (now this may come as a surprise to some) I've restrained myself from discussing some very personal thoughts with some people. I've wanted to practice this behavior and even though the guy isn't a part of my life now I want to honor what I learned from the relationship at least. On this blog I tell some stuff that I wonder if I really should tell, but that's one reason I try to maintain the anonymity. Since I've started doing this I have to say I feel great!

In fact, I was thinking the other day about how when someone is going through a really hard time everyone has to ask "how are you doing" and that person gets sick of the question. It's not like life gets better or easier and so that question becomes increasingly depressing. I don't think said person will ever be able to get out of that sad state with continued discussion focusing on it. In terms of my dating life, every time someone asks "how is Phil" I get talking and thinking and obsessing and next thing I know there is little left of meaning in my life other than the Phil drama. And the more I talk about Phil the more people need to ask about him.

As older single women we hate being asked "why aren't you married yet" but then it seems that's the only topic we discuss. The bigger deal you make of something the bigger deal it becomes. I don't want all my friend relationships to be based on the latest progress of my Phil relationship. So I've decided that I want to have my life less Phil oriented and just more me oriented. That won't affect my blogging here - so no worries - but I have to say I'm a believer in sharing less. After all, the only people who know what is best in a relationship are the two people in it. I think I'll do better in my next relationship if I don't try to include 10 of my closest friends who have all the best and kindest intentions.

Sorry - I think that was a bit rambly, but I hope you catch my drift!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Guacamole,the deciding factor (Bridget)

So, I had a first conversation a couple of nights ago with my newest internet possibility, I'll call him Dodger guy. My roommates, Liz and Dre and I have been known to give new guys nicknames until they have earned the status of actually being called by their God given name. There has been What's his face, an editor of films in L.A, Baseball Guy,a triple A baseball player, and Vegas guy, a cop..who didn't make it anywhere near being called his actual name. With the line up of men that I have come across,there seems to be no rhyme or reason to why I actually do give a guy a chance or really any good reason to cast them aside. I have been known to drop a guy for really minor reasons, such as one guy didn't know what Stratford Upon Avon was. That just seemed really unforgiveable at the time. Another guy gave me a scare when he said he had never heard of the Indigo Girls. Now, I'm a fan, but not a huge fan, and ultimately I think it really came to the notion that a person that is aware of their surroundings, and that grew up in the 80's would have AT LEAST heard of the Indigo Girls. Weird reasoning on my part? Yes absolutely. And I'm aware that it is. On the other hand, I have given my heart to others in spite of insurmountable issues, such as,well, one of us being gay and in another instance one of us living in New York City, to name only a couple. With talk in Marcia's blog about unavailable hearts,it has moved me to consider whether in fact,what I have on the surface considered as my ever availability,is actually monumental unavailability in disguise. I think I need help with this...because in a second anything can change..this new Dodger Guy could be unknowingly stepping into a mine field when he confesses that he say,doesn't like guacamole, and then I would be forced to reconsider my friendship with him, "what, who doesn't like guacamole, definitely not the man i'm meant to be with"....weird..i think i need help...and like Marcia says, the first thing is acknowledging it...where's that number for my therapist...this is not a good sign...

the first step (by Marcia)

Tonight Clue told me (in a very kind way) that he didn’t think I was emotionally available for a relationship. I was dumbfounded. Speechless. Not because that’s what he thought of me, but because I was actually on the other end of that phrase. I’m supposed to be the emotionally available one. In fact, that’s my somewhat comforting explanation as to why my past relationships haven’t worked out – it was the guy who wasn’t available. Not me.

After I regained my power of speech, defensiveness instantly kicked in and I was mentally preparing my rebuttal, but then I realized something. He was right! In seconds I decided that I needed to change and become available. Just how I will do that isn’t all that clear at the moment, but I trust that something will come to me. They say that acknowledgment is the first step. What’s the second?

Monday, June 2, 2008

7 Habits of highly effective online daters(Bridget)

This is for you Kris, from one online dater to another, passing the proverbial torch..make me proud little one.

1.Please do not look at a guy's profile multiple times. LDS planet SAYS that one can look at another's profile as many times as they want in one day and it will count as one. If you trust this you will be sorry. Recently, and this has happened more than once (one time shame on them, two times shame on me, three times...I deserve to be alone on a Saturday night) I will be sharing emails filled with witty repartee with a gentleman, and believing that it will only count as one look, I will sneak another peak at their profile,or maybe say twelve peaks,and by gosh, I will never hear from them again...

2. Do not get online after 10pm unless you're looking for a booty chat..they rarely respect you in the morning

3. Go with your gut...you have that certain something inside that tells you if you should keep chatting/email with this guy...if there's red flags already...and you haven't even i/m'd him,keep moving

4. Don't ask a guy that says he valet parks for a living, what his "plan" is,as if he absolutely must have one..that just makes for awkward chatting

5. Flirt Responsibly...it can go places you don't want it to go...fast

6. Be an equal opportunity dater...pictures and profiles can be deceiving in a good way and bad way. Try and be open to all possibilities.

7. Make sure to invest time and energy on some flattering pictures. No one wants to see the picture you've taken of yourself in the bathroom mirror with your Motorola..this will go a long way, and really speaks of the level of pride you have in yourself, i think.

So there...the seven habits of highly effective online daters. Take it for what its worth...and good luck with your online escapades...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Disconnected Ramble and My Evening with X (Kris)

I was shopping with a college roommate last week and bought some fun green summer wedges. I told her that now I just needed a date so I could wear them. She reminded me that when we were in college and I was feeling the need to go out, I would just call a guy and ask him to take me out that night. Surprisingly, it worked. I've been craving a night out on the town that doesn't involve a huge group of people, but I can't imagine myself doing that now. Maybe I've gotten scared, or maybe that behavior is only appropriate in your 20's and a little juvenile now.

I don't want to come off as desperate, like I'm begging for a date. I don't feel like it's desperation, just normal to want to have some quality time with the opposite sex. I had a good friend in college who dated a lot. Even if there wasn't a girl he was really interested in pursing romantically, he would go on "friend" dates. He once explained to me that he felt men and women complimented each other, and it was important for balance in his life to spend quality time with women on a regular basis. He was not a player, but very sincere and took genuine interest in everyone he dated. I think that is profound. We talk/hear so much about the differences between men and women and how it separates us, but I think a good context for the discussion is how our differences can make relationships interesting, complimentary and necessary.

There is one guy I can always count on for a fun evening out. My ex (X). We have been friends a long time, before we dated and afterwards. We've stayed in touch and go out occasionally. He's a good dater- meaning, even though we're going out as friends, he still makes me feel like a girl. He's always a gentleman, willing to drive, pay (I usually offer dutch though), and knows all those little things that make you feel feminine. We talked recently and decided to go out last night. Ex's are nice in that you know each other really well (X knows all my secrets and vice versa) and can talk really candidly. I have no question where I stand with X. We can openly appreciate each other and know exactly the boundaries of the relationship. Although, he got a little flustered when I teased him that I had joked with my sisters when I bought the new shirt I was wearing that I'd feel so sassy wearing it that I'd probably put out with whoever was willing to take me out. :) Anyway, thank heaven for good men who, with no strings attached, just enjoy treating women like women. X has always been good with that. It is so appreciated.

the click...or it's me not you (by marcia)

A good way to humiliate yourself is to write down some of your deepest thoughts, fears and emotions and then send it to the guy you are dating. When I told Chris (my Voice of Reason) that I was going to be a contributing writer on this blog, he recommended that I take up a less dangerous hobby…such as hang gliding.

In case anyone is curious, Clue and BH and anyone else I write about, knows about this blog. I actually send them what I write before I post it so they have a chance to dispute, correct or enhance anything. I sent the “therapy” bit to Clue before we went out on Friday and then spent a couple of days wishing I had gone hang gliding.

After I emailed “therapy” to Clue, he just replied “I’m glad you shared it with me. It will give us an opening to talk about some of those things.” Ugh. Relationship talks are not one of my strong points. In fact, one time I think I dated a guy a year before we had our first relationship talk.

So on Friday Clue picks me up and we can both sense this huge elephant in the room right away. We get in his car to go to dinner and that elephant is right there with us. I finally break the ice and blurt out, “I feel totally exposed.” He laughed and I realized he was actually enjoying this. I let him enjoy it – he deserved it after everything I’d put him through. We drove to the restaurant and talked. We sat on the patio at a Thai restaurant and talked. We came back to my place and talked. I have to say, it was one of the most honest, open, refreshing relationship talks I’ve ever had. To re-phrase, I was completely honest, completely open – more so than I’ve ever been.

First of all, it cleared up a few things. We’d had some miscommunication about schedules and availability. I thought I had told him that the only days I wasn’t available last week were Wednesday and Saturday. He had sent an email saying that he was buried with work and later in the week would work better for him – but of course he doesn’t remember that part. I believe he was used to and expected me to “give him a sliver of my time” as he put it and interpreted me and my schedule accordingly, which, based on the past few months, I can’t blame him. So when I told him that I had to take my brother to the airport and wasn’t available until 8pm on Friday, he decided to blow me off and go to Moab. So that whole thing about patience? Not true.

We also talked about where we are in this relationship and what we hoped to get out of it. I found Clue to be very sensitive and understanding. We talked about BH a bit and he totally understood not being ready to be in another serious relationship. He also asked if I’ve the chance to grieve after we broke up which I thought was interesting. One night about a month ago BH and I talked for about two hours late into the night. I hung up and cried for awhile. Not because of anything we had talked about, but because I felt totally empty after we hung up. We have this great friendship and have a great conversation and then hang up and there’s a big-fat-empty-nothing hanging over me. I couldn’t sleep so I wrote a therapeutic page or two about him. So yes, I’ve grieved. Actually, now I feel totally over BH. In past post-break-up cycles, we would stay friends but in the back of my mind was the idea that maybe he would want to marry me. I don’t have that in the back of my mind anymore.

Clue is looking for someone he enjoys spending time with and then actually spending time together – something I’ve been avoiding. I’ve enjoyed the time we have spent together, but I’ve kept fairly aloof, utilizing my work travel schedule to space things out. The travel stuff is legit, but when I’m in town, I’ve been reluctant to spend a lot of time together and I’m not sure why.

I told Clue that I like him, that there’s a lot of things I admire about him and that I’ve enjoyed getting to know him better, but I haven’t experienced that “click.” It could be the timing. It could be me. It could be him. I actually told him all that. Honest and candid conversations may be old hat to some people, but I am a graduate of the School of Cowardice and Avoidance. These baby steps are giant to me.

He asked if I wanted to keep seeing each other and I replied yes (the conversation was a bit more in depth, but this is the gist of it). At the end of the evening we just sat in silence, his arms wrapped around me and he would kiss me on my forehead once in awhile. It was nice.

So he’s making me dinner for me after church tonight. I’m sure it will be a lovely evening – just before I fly out tomorrow for another business trip.